Adams and Reese Partner Lucian Pera, in the firm’s Memphis office, was interviewed by the business legal publication, Law360, in an article, “More Law Firms to Face Suits Over Sensitive Client Data,” discussing the trend of an increasing number of client data disputes at a time when lateral moves are commonplace and portable devices are regularly used to store vast troves of client secrets, lawyers say.
Pera said he could see more disputes coming up because the widespread use of flash drives, laptops, smartphones, tablets and cloud services makes it so much easier to take and store large amounts of client and firm information.
“In the old days, lawyers were misbehaving by backing up station wagons and stealing boxes of files, while now they can go to Office Depot and get a flash drive,” he said. “I suspect there could be more suits just because it’s so easy to take information with a flash drive, while stealing 10 boxes requires more work.”
Pera said firms may also need to do a better job of protecting their data. Some firms are paying experts to test for lapses in their cybersecurity systems and putting monitoring systems in place to check if lawyers are downloading larger than normal amounts of data. While those practices aren’t required of law firms, they may become the standard of care in the near future, he said.
“Firms are experimenting with what they can do to protect themselves,” he said. “What we have got to do in this new digital world, no one has the answer, but we’ve got to be trying.”
At Adams and Reese, Pera’s practice includes commercial litigation, media law, and legal ethics and professional responsibility. He was recently elected to be Vice President of the Tennessee Bar Association, a position that leads automatically to the role of President in 2017-2018.